How the world's ugliest color is stopping people from smoking
New laws around the world are making cigarette boxes as unattractive as possible.
If one of your New Years resolutions is to stop smoking, you're in luck.
Israel has just passed a law that will require cigarette makers to package their products in what's being called "the world's ugliest color." A survey of 1,000 smokers landed on the brownish-green Pantone 448C – also known as "opaque couché" – as being so vile that it conjures up notions of "tar," "dirty" and even "death."
Take a look at the sludge-like color and what words come to mind ...
Even the color itself, which boasts a Twitter following of 169 really bored people, expressed disgust at the decision.
I used to feature so much in all your 70s couches, curtains and wallpapers. What did I do to deserve this?— Pantone 448 C (@Pantone448C) August 17, 2012
Israel is following in the footsteps of other countries that have decided to make cigarette labels as unattractive as possible in a push to curb smoking rates. In 2012, Australia became the first nation in the world to put all tobacco products in the drab, mud-like packaging. Other countries – including France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway and Ireland – have also followed suit. (The U.K. even went so far as to insist that the labels only use the decidedly plain Helvetica 14-point font.)
"It makes perfect sense that smoking packets would use a vile green that looks like bodily fluids and makes people feel slightly nauseated," color consultant Angela Wright told CNN.
The standardized labeling – known in the industry as "plain packaging" – also limits brand awareness by nixing company logos and putting the product's name in small font, while adding larger warnings and often graphic imagery that take up the majority of the package's real estate. In essence, they're meant to be undesirable.
Israel's new law will also apply to the burgeoning e-cigarette market, popular among college students. This builds on a ban that Israel passed in August, which outlawed the sale of some e-cigarette pods because of their high nicotine content. San Francisco-based Juul, one of the world's largest e-cigarette companies, was forced to sell a lighter version to the Israeli market.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use causes nearly 6 million deaths per year in developed countries.
On the upside, people who are able to give up the habit for a month are five times more likely to drop the butt for good, experts say. The WHO also points out that smokers who are more aware of the dangers of tobacco actually want to quit and are therefore more susceptible to making life changes after being turned off by Pantone 448C. Indeed, shortly after the initial law was enacted in Australia, smokers began saying that the cigarettes actually tasted worse in the plain packaging – an unexpected side effect.
Multiple studies have consistently shown that plain packaging can reduce the appeal of cigarettes (especially for new smokers), decrease the power of the cigarette pack as a marketing vehicle, increase attention to the health warning labels and impact attitudes related to smoking.
Guess we won't be painting our kitchen Pantone 448C anytime soon.
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